ITV Racing Tips: Caribean Boy can be the just the ticket in the Silver Cup Handicap Chase
There is still some huge races taking to the jumps before the busy festive racing period with racing at Ascot and Haydock filling the TV schedule.
The last day of Saturday racing before Christmas contains some traditional favourites headed by the Long Walk Hurdle.
The popular Paisley Park and Thyme Hill. first and second in the race last year, return, but the up and coming Buzz will not make the line-up after suffering a fractured pelvis in training.
Last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap is on a retrieval mission in the Silver Cup and Goshen drops back into handicap company in pursuit of a return to winning form.
The highlight at Haydock is the Tommy Whittle Chase where Remastered, who was travelling well when falling four out in the Ladbrokes Trophy, has a chance to show what might have happened.
There will be four races from Ascot and two from Haydock in a six race schedule. Coverage begins on ITV4 at 1.30pm and we have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our ITV Racing Tips.
This is no longer the race it was after likely favourite Buzz suffered an injury on the gallops. The Cesarewitch winner could have offered an alternative candidate for major staying honours.
Without him, the race has a more traditional feel about it with Paisley Park, a two-time winner, and Thyme Hill, runner-up last year, locking horns again.
Neither have been at all convincing lately so there is a chance for another candidate to put their name forward. Thomas Darby did that last time when winning the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, where Paisley Park was third.
Despite losing Buzz, Nicky Henderson runs Champ and On The Blind Side, but the bigger threat may come from Ronald Pump.
The Irish raider was second in the 2020 Stayers Hurdle and has maintained his standards by running two good races against champion hurdler Honeysuckle at 2m. He hasn’t won in a while, but this could be his chance.
A valuable 3m handicap chase featuring last year’s Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap and the veteran course specialist Regal Encore.
Now 13, shortly to turn 14, Regal Encore has won this race twice and should still not be overlooked having run a solid third place over course and distance just last month. Cloth Cap couldn’t dominate at Newbury last time and may be too high in the weights now.
Caribean Boy could be an interesting candidate here running in first time cheekpieces and over a new trip. He was only tenth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but that race has been working out well.
He was only beaten just over eight lengths and dropped 3lbs. On his only run over fences at Ascot he was third to Dashel Drasher off level weights. He could be a decent each-way bet.
There are plenty of likely candidates for this valuable handicap hurdle with the Nicky Henderson No Ordinary Joe heading the betting from the Paul Nicholls’s stable’s Samarrive and West Cork, from the yard of Dan Skelton.
All have typical improving profiles for a race of this nature. They receive 12lb and more from top weight Goshen but while the Gary Moore stable star has a bit to prove now, this could be the type of race to do it in. He may not be championship material anymore but he’s still a decent performer.
Not So Sleepy won it two years in a row and Goshen would be of a similar level. This will be his handicap debut over hurdles and hopefully his class will shine through.
ITV Racing Schedule, Saturday, 18th December
13:50 Ascot – 2m3f handicap chase
14:05 Haydock – 2m 3f handicap hurdle
14:25 Ascot – Long Walk Hurdle
14:40 Haydock – Tommy Whittle Chase
15:00 Ascot – Silver Cup Handicap Chase
15:35 Ascot – Betfair Exchange Trophy
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.